F1's flexi-wing controversy faces end game in France

Formula 1's focus on tyre pressures has dominated chatter in the build-up to the French Grand Prix, but the weekend is an important one on another technical front.

F1's flexi-wing controversy faces end game in France

The flexi-wing drama that's been bubbling away over the last few races should see a line drawn underneath it at Paul Ricard, as the FIA introduces new tests to prevent teams from circumventing the load and deflection tests that were already in place.

Teams have had around a month to prepare themselves for the new test conditions, which require the designers to comply with new values and mean that they have a rotation component to deal with rather than just a deflection.

The new guidelines suggest that bodywork may rotate no more than one-degree about an axis normal to the centreplane when two 750N loads are applied rearward.

Furthermore, bodywork may not rotate more than one-degree about an axis normal to the centre plane when two 1000N loads are applied in a downward direction.

Ferrari SF21 rear wing qualification and race, Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Ferrari SF21 rear wing qualification and race, Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

However, even with the new rear wing tests scheduled to be introduced at the French Grand Prix, the FIA has opted to be proactive and will also study the rear wings more closely from the rearward facing onboard camera footage.

Installed on all the rear wings at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, at the behest of the governing body, were a series of 10mm dots that are used as reference points when monitoring the footage (as seen on the illustration of the Ferrari wing) .

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The teams have used this as a method of understanding flexibility themselves for a number of years, albeit they usually use a chequerboard sticker to act as a reference guide in lieu of the dots (as seen in the image above as Red Bull conducted its own tests in tandem with the FIA during free practice at Baku).

In any case, the teams had already started to respond to the new demands ahead of schedule, as Red Bull arrived at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with an entirely new rear wing design that was reminiscent of what we saw them use at Spa in 2020.

Red Bull RB16B rear wing, Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Red Bull Racing RB16B rear wing comparison

 

The revised wing removed many of the features attributed with adjusting the flow structures around the endplate, such as the curved louvres in the lower hanging section and the stepped cutout in the upper rear quarter.

Of course the roles these would have played, had they been installed, would have been lessened by the ratio of wing attributed to lower downforce and drag in the outer sections anyway. Nonetheless, it's interesting to see those details stripped away, again.

shares
comments

Related video

Juan Manuel Correa returns to Sauber young driver academy

Previous article

Juan Manuel Correa returns to Sauber young driver academy

Next article

Have F1 drivers lost faith in Pirelli after Baku failures?

Have F1 drivers lost faith in Pirelli after Baku failures?
Load comments
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021